Before there was James Faulkner, before there was Michael Hussey, before there was Michael Bevan — there was Dean Jones.
The swashbuckling right-hander revolutionised how the Australian cricket team played in the middle overs of ODI matches. While overs 10-40 were once considered a period of survival, he accelerated, plundering anything loose from opposition bowlers.
Jones was a pioneer, redefining the purpose of middle order batsmen in ODI cricket, an art which has since been perfected by the likes of MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli.
When Jones played his final international match in 1994, only one cricketer had scored more ODI runs than the Aussie at a higher average — Sir Vivian Richards.
ICC Best Ever ODI Ratings
935 Viv Richards
931 Zaheer Abbas
921 Greg Chappell
919 David Gower
918 DEAN JONES
911 Virat Kohli
910 Javed Miandad
908 Brian Lara
902 AB de Villers
901 Hashim Amla
But the Victorian’s legendary exploits in the game’s one-day format sometimes overshadowed his feats in five-day cricket.
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Jones played 52 Test matches — the same number as Sir Donald Bradman — finishing with 3631 runs at 46.55, including 11 centuries.
Of those 11 triple-figure scores, two innings highlighted his value in the game’s longest format, and they are coincidentally the two highest scores of his international career.
Test cricket is won with grit and resilience — while any batsman with a good eye and strong levers can flourish in T20 cricket, you cannot succeed in five-day cricket without mental toughness.
It’s a war of attrition, and Dean Jones was a warrior.
216 vs WEST INDIES AT ADELAIDE, 1989
Facing the West Indies in the 1980s would arguably be the toughest challenge for any batsman. Boasting the likes of Malcolm Marshall and Curtly Ambrose, the Caribbean pace attack remains the most intimidating bowling line-up in the sport’s history.
Emerging from an era in which Australia religiously struggled against the West Indies, Jones plundered a career-defining double-century at Adelaide Oval in 1989.
While Marshall, Ambrose and Courtney Walsh bombarded his teammates with a barrage of short-pitched bowling, Jones nudged his way towards 216 before he was eventually run out having survived 347 deliveries.
Dean Jones brings up his double-century in Adelaide.Source:News Corp Australia
He was at the crease for almost nine hours, patiently rotating the strike and combining with skipper Allan Border and tailender Merv Hughes for twin century stands.
Having been overlooked for the opening two matches of the series, Jones cemented his spot in the national squad ahead of Australia’s breakthrough 1989 Ashes series.
As revealed by statistician “Swamp”, no batsman came close to registering a higher score against the famous West Indies bowling quartet in Test cricket.
Highest Test innings vs the bowling quartet of Malcolm Marshall, Patrick Patterson, Curtly Ambrose & Courtney Walsh
216 – DEAN JONES (run out)
154* – Graham Gooch
146 – Graham Gooch
144 – Mark Taylor
139* – Mark Waugh
113 – Allan Lamb
210 vs INDIA AT MADRAS, 1986
It’s the most memorable innings of his professional career, and for good reason.
With only two Test caps under his belt, Jones was tasked with overcoming India’s talented squad in horrific conditions at Madras. The humidity and throbbing heat left the Australians battling more than just the opposition.
Sweating, trembling, and at one stage vomiting next to the pitch, Jones was flung in and out of ice baths during breaks in his marathon innings.
He once again formed a partnership with captain Allan Border, the pair combining for 178 for the fourth wicket.
As conditions worsened, Jones sheepishly suggested he should leave the field, retiring hurt from exhaustion and dehydration.
Border famously replied: “All right, if that’s the way you feel, let’s get a real Australian out here. A Queenslander.”
Dean Jones during the 1986 tied Test.Source:News Limited
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After he was eventually dismissed for 210 — an innings which included 27 boundaries and two sixes — Jones was rushed to a hospital, his body dangerously low on fluids.
Every run proved crucial, with the match ending as a tie, the second such instance in Test history.
It was a performance which epitomised the character required for Test cricket, and for that reason, many consider Jones’ innings at Madras to be the greatest ever by an Australian.
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